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Sushi: A Short History

Sushi has become so internationally ubiquitous that in addition to the hand-molded Edo-mae (Tokyo) style and the box-shaped Kamigata (Osaka) style, today you can find a roll-heavy California style, a bold but conservative New York style and a French-inspired refined London style as well. Despite the Western trend, sushi's roots are in a method of preserving fish originally developed in Southeast Asia and on the Korean peninsula.
When you eat sushi today, expect sweetened vinegared rice and fish in some combination. This has not always been the case. In early versions raw fish was layered between cooked rice and left to sour for several months. When the fish was ready and ripe the rice was thrown out and the fish set aside to be consumed as needed. Today a Japanese version of this early sushi--called generally narezushi--can still be found in the Lake Biwa region of western Japan. The Lake Biwa version--called specifically funazushi, after funa, a kind of freshwater carp--is prepared in this traditional way except the pungent rice is not thrown out but eaten.
As this intense concoction became popular, at some point a cook somewhere in Japan added vinegar to his plain white rice, either to approximate the flavor of this early sushi or just to prolong the freshness of his lunchbox. Over the years sushi became sweeter and more popularly palatable. With Osakan oshizushi (pressed sushi) and hakozushi (box sushi) firmly established even earlier, by the 18th century the new Tokyo nigirizushi (hand-molded) style was gaining in popularity and eventually spread throughout the country and finally crossed overseas.
Later, other kinds of sushi, makizushi (rolled sushi), chirashizushi (scattered sushi) were developed to make sushi more convenient and portable as well as easier to make at home.



General Method for Cooking Rice for Sushi

Recipe for Sushi Zu

General Method and Recipe for Shari

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